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Any Other Business: 4 September 2020

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Discover content team
3 min read
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This week’s AOB looks at the latest e-commerce news from around the world including the rise in subscription-based services, and how Lego’s online sales have flourished during the pandemic.

Christmas comes early for super-organized shoppers

The global pandemic has disrupted consumers’ normal online shopping behaviors. Now, a survey by eBay suggests this shift in consumer buying behavior is continuing as we move towards the holiday season.  

eBay’s 2020 Christmas spend trends report1, which surveyed 2,000 UK shoppers, found 27% of them are planning to start Christmas shopping and prepare for this year’s holiday season earlier than usual. The online marketplace’s analytics show that between April and May of this year, there was a 44% increase in searches containing the terms ‘Christmas’ or ‘Xmas’; and a quarter of respondents said they hope to finish their festive purchases by the start of December.

E-commerce sellers may be particularly interested to note that 28% of consumers said that sales, promotions or offers will be a top factor in influencing what they decide to buy this year, due to financial uncertainties caused by the pandemic. Are you ready for the holiday season shopping bonanza? If not, you need to start preparations now!

The iconic toy brand defying gloomy sector downturn

Lego2, the Danish brand beloved by children and adults alike, has recorded increases in both sales and profits in the first half of this year.

The world’s largest toymaker – by both revenues and profits – increased consumer sales by double-digit percentages in Asia, western Europe and the US. This contrasts with other brands within the industry who are increasingly struggling to compete with digital devices and online games for children’s attention. Toymakers Mattel3 and Hasbro4 have reported significant sales drops in the first half of the year.

Chief Executive Niels Christiansen attributes Lego’s success in part due to the brand investing in its website and online store. “Covid-19 has brought acceleration with e-commerce. What would have taken one, two or three years has gone much faster. Over the last 18-24 months, we’ve invested behind our product portfolio, e-commerce, and our brand. Fundamentally, this is paying off. It’s less connected to where stores are closed or there are lockdowns,”5 he said, although he stresses that the brand still values its stores as important for giving customers the full brand experience.

The pandemic has been a catalyst for the e-commerce sector. Ensure your online store is well positioned to make the most of every opportunity and to capture every online shopper with our dedicated e-commerce guides.   

Special e-commerce event will share industry secrets

A date for your diaries: this year’s eCommerce Expo6 will be held September 29 - October 1 (albeit online, due to current circumstances.)

The three-day virtual event aims to provide a deep exploration of the technologies underpinning online sales businesses, with supporting keynotes, panels and workshops to help you understand how to apply these technologies to grow your e-commerce operations.

In addition, industry speakers will deliver talks on key e-commerce topics including user experience, conversion rate optimization, and how to navigate your business post-pandemic.

Registration for the online event is free and can be done via eCommerce Expo’s website (link below).

Flowers with a side of Hollywood, delivered to your door

If you like sending flowers to loved ones, a new service will let you add a little bit of silver screen magic to your gift.

A partnership between 1-800-Flowers.com7 and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment8 allows customers to choose from hundreds of Universal films that can be added on to purchases from the online flower retailer. Gift recipients will receive codes that can be redeemed via digital film service Movies Anywhere9.

"Now consumers can enrich every gifting occasion with a personalized movie experience that, for the first time, offers the opportunity to pair a digital movie with another gift via a major e-commerce brand. This collaboration introduces the most personalized and flexible digital movie gifting experience in the marketplace” said Michael Aaronson, Senior Vice President at Universal10

Direct to consumer sector given boost by pandemic

The pandemic triggered a rise in sales of D2C (direct to consumer) subscription services, as consumers sought a more convenient way to shop amidst store closures and safety concerns.

According to a recent survey11 by Barclaycard Payments12 in the UK, subscriptions increased by 39.4% year-on-year in July 2020, with 65% of households signed up to subscription services and individuals spending an average of £46 (USD $61.2) per month. More than half of consumers said that “convenience” was their primary reason for signing up.

As for the retailers, 87% of those surveyed said they think subscription services allow their business to keep up with competitors as other brands launch similar products, and 82% agreed that subscription services help them to build customer relationships through increased contact.

1 - Christmas spend trends, eBay, June 2020

2 - Lego

3 - Mattel

4 - Hasbro

5 - Niels Christiansen, Financial Times, September 2020

6 - eCommerce Expo

7 - 1-800-Flowers.com

8 - Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

9 - Movies Anywhere

10 - Michael Aaronson, Fierce Video, August 2020

11 - Barclaycard survey, August 2020

12 - Barclaycard